Sunday, December 30, 2012
Christmas pictures coming up next...
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Monday, December 24, 2012
When making certain choices that I knew were less than mainstream, I knew certain people would judge. I knew they would not be supportive. However, I didn't realize they would be deliberately ignorant or malicious. Let me throw plain stupid out there, as well.
As you likely gathered from the picture, this post (or should I say rant) is about cloth diapering. Although we cloth diaper mostly during the day only, I consider cloth diapering an important part of our lifestyle and how we're raising our child. When someone insults or disrupt my lifestyle choice, particularly out of ignorance (though possibly not spite), I feel hurt and more than a little angry. I've never been insulted for breastfeeding in public or asked/told not to do so, but I imagine my reaction would be similar as it was in this case. What happened concerned an issue that matters that much to me even if it involves poop.
Today I was told I could not wash my baby's diapers in the home where we're spending the holidays because it was distasteful--because the members of the household launder their clothes in the same machine I would be using to wash diapers. I was told it would be a sufficient alternative to have the diapers professionally cleaned. The latter statement is blatantly false and the former arises out of ignorance. What's worse is that they waited until we arrived to spring this on us--again out of ignorance or something more malicious, I don't know.
I do not write this because I believe I have a chance in hell at altering their mindsets. Doing so is not worth my time even assuming it were possible. Nor do I particularly wish to hurt them as they have me. I simply wish to clarify certain misconceptions about cloth diapering and possibly about me.
First, the ick factor. Breastfed poop is 100% water soluble. Urine is sterile. Until a baby begins solids, the diapers go in the wash without any pre-washing, dunking or other treatment required. The recommended cleaning process is as follows: cold rinse, hot wash with manufacturer-approved detergent, extra rinse, and air dry. The first rinse removes the superficial waste and urine. After this step, the diapers will look clean and the urine diapers will probably be nearly clean. The hot wash plus detergent removes bacteria and odors. The extra rinse removes lingering detergent which could negatively impact its absorbency. Air drying prolongs the lifespan of the diaper and, if done in the sun, removes stains naturally.
Second, commercial cleaning is an unacceptable alternative. A KEY benefit of cloth diapering is control over the laundering process. Specifically, home laundering involves control over which detergents are used, as well the manner in which the diapers are washed and dried. Though diaper services may still exist and were once incredibly popular, they serve no use in my cloth diapering world. Moreover, such services specialize in what are known as prefold diapers, not pocket diapers as I use. A prefold is a big rectangle of white cloth--probably what you think of a cloth diaper if your last experience with them was in the 1980s or earlier. A pocket diaper (pictured above) is a wondrous invention that consists of a waterproof shell lined with a soft microsuede or fleece material that touches baby's bottom. A large maxi-pad like insert, generally made of cotton, is stuffed in the "pocket" of the diaper for absorbency. For additional absorbency, multiple or thicker inserts are used. The liner wicks moisture away from baby's skin to the absorbent insert. When you wash pocket diapers, the insert is removed from the shell for more efficient cleaning. Many shells per their manufacturer must be air-dried to avoid damage to the waterproof material by the heat of a drier.
Lastly, and this goes to why I was so hurt, do I strike you as someone who would happily wash my family's clothes in a dirty washer? Written hype is one thing and the facts I spout admittedly appear on the websites of cloth diaper fans and companies. Do you, dear family members who know me in real life, take me for a naive fool? WE HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN DOING THIS for a couple of months now and near-daily for the last month. I would know by now if our clothes weren't clean. I would know by now if there was a negative impact upon my machine.
The truly sad thing is that the effect of poop on the washing machine may become a legitimate an issue when the Blueberry begins solids. At that point, the poop will no longer be safe to go down the drain. When that time comes, again modern innovation will come to the rescue. However, my dear extended family didn't give a rat's ass about that. They just thought "ick" and out of unyielding ignorance suggested a non-viable alternative. Further, they also apparently thought me stupid enough to make a choice so disgusting. Well, that's just fine and dandy.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Apparently I'm officially a Hippie Naturalist Mom. Or whatever the appropriate pejorative expression is. We're a breastfeeding, cloth diapering, and (planning on) homemade organic baby food-making family. We're chemical-lite, though not chemical-free. Heck, even though I'm opposed, my husband is advocating home schooling. Geez, from that description we might as well live in California, recycle every scrap of trash, and have loud bumper stickers proclaiming our proclivities all over our car. But darn it, we're really not extremists. Nor are we particularly unusual. We're simply attempting to do the best for our baby that we can.
My baby has been exclusively breastfed for all but one day of his 5 months of life, but I don't do it for the health benefits or to bond with my child. Rather, it's simply much more convenient not to have to mix bottles of formula in the middle of the night or spend hundreds of dollars on powder when breast milk is free. Moreover, the gas and poop smell a lot better than formula fed babies. Finally, I have an irrational fear of what's in formula stemming from the Chinese formula scandal of not too long ago. I'll buy the current hype that breast milk is healthier for the baby, but I'd probably breast feed even if it weren't en vogue. I have the luxury of staying home with the Blueberry and don't mind waking up in the middle of the night if need be.
I'm planning on making all of the Blueberry's food because I prepare practically all of our food--it simply doesn't make sense for my baby to eat out of a processed jar when we're eating fresh food. Why organic? That's simply to compensate for what benefits good jarred baby food does have and to avoid excess nitrate.
I cloth diaper during the day but the Blueberry wears disposables at night and when we're out and about for longer than a couple of hours. I buy cloth diapers based on fit, features, and looks--not based upon where the cotton is grown or where the diapers are made.
A more dedicated "natural mom" would call my efforts half-assed. On the other hand, if you haven't raised a child in 30 years, are childless, or just never considered doing anything more than the ordinary, I'm extreme. Or plain nuts. All of that may be true, but it's what works for us for now.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Friday, December 21, 2012
It's rather scary just how on schedule he's been these past 18 hours or so. Maybe this is a sign that we're done with this growth spurt for the moment? Or maybe he knew that Mommy desperately needed sleep last night having only had three-and-a-half hours the night before? Or maybe he's got Mommy's cold and needed the rest? Who knows? I just know I'll take it.
In case you were wondering, we're not leaving for Chicago until tomorrow. I was exhausted yesterday didn't want to pull an all-nighter the night before undertaking a long drive through stormy weather. Winter Storm Draco is dumping a ton of snow in our path, pretty much no matter which way we go.
Sadly, the storm won't touch Chicago with much more than some rain and flurries. I want to play in snow, not just drive through it. If you're traveling this weekend, I wish you safe travels. Whether you're traveling by air or car, patience and caution will go a long way towards ensuring a merrier Christmas.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Well, maybe more than a touch.
Yes, it's a real tree. So long as I'm able, we'll always have a real tree. There's nothing like the smell of pine to make it feel like Christmas--whether there's snow on the ground or it's 80 degrees outside. When the Blueberry gets little bigger, we'll head to a tree farm where we can cut our own.
Tonight we'll open our presents so we can get on the road early tomorrow. (Naturally, we had to have our first Christmas as an expanded family at home. I prefer the more intimate setting as opposed to the chaos with the extended family.) Wrapping still has to happen, which is why you don't see any presents under the tree yet. The Blueberry has a "Baby's 1st Christmas" Santa hat, but unfortunately it's a very tight fit so it's more of a soft toy for the Blueberry. Look out for a super cute outfit or two.
Hopefully, I'll get a post in over the weekend but if I don't, we wish everyone a very Merry Christmas filled with family, friends, good health, and happiness!
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
It began last week, but we're in full-blown comfort-mode here. The night before last, he didn't go down until 2:00 a.m. and last night it was 3:00 a.m. Since his eating schedule seems to have stayed on track or at least the intervals at which he needs to eat, even though he was nursing himself to sleep for several hours, he wasn't actually eating. Thus, after going to bed at 3:00 a.m., he woke up about 90 minutes later because it was time to eat. Fun, fun, fun. The he slept from just after 5:00 a.m. until noon. Unfortunately Mommy couldn't manage that.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
This incident made me aware of a number of deficiencies in the bedtime routine to the extent there's a routine at all now. First, the Blueberry needs to learn to fall asleep without help, particularly without me nursing him to sleep. He'll occasionally fall asleep on my husband after a bottle but most nights it's at the breast. I think the Blueberry's become aware of his need for sleep and how he can get to sleep. He'll demand to comfort nurse if he's sleepy but can't fall asleep. A pacifier and rocking sometimes works in lieu of me but not always. Sometimes not even nursing will do the trick. My latest solution is to put him in the baby carrier and bounce, dance and sway about until he falls asleep but that presents another possible undesirable outcome--spending too much time in the carrier which I fear isn't great for his hips.
Friday, December 14, 2012
The picture is a closer view of half my stash which now numbers 24. It consists of 23 pocket diapers and 1 all-in-one. A pocket diaper has a removable absorbency insert which allows for faster drying than the all-in-one where the absorbent material is not removable. In both cases, the exterior of the diaper is waterproof, so there's no need for a separate cover or the plastic pants of earlier days. In the picture from the top left you see: 2 BumGenius 4.0, 1 FuzziBunz (medium), 1 Blueberry, 1 BumGenius Elemental, 3 of 6 Charlie Bananas (small), 4 Go Green Champ 3.0.
Not pictured are 3 Charlie Bananas, 1 FuzziBunz (small), 3 Alva Baby, 1 BumWear, 1 Baby Kicks Basic, 1 Imagine OS, 1 Rumparooz, and 1 Tweedlebugs.
I'll probably do some reviews of the diapers in later posts as we definitely have our favorites already. Our favorites includes most of the velcro diapers (BumGenius 4.0s, Blueberry, Imagine), as well as the small Charlie Bananas, medium FuzziBunz, and the Alvas. Some of the other diapers are cool, especially the Go Green Champ 3.0s but I think he has some growing to do first.
This is our changing station. Since the area is so small, those hanging organizers from IKEA work great. On the left are the disposable diapers. He's in size 2, so each pocket comfortably holds about 5-6 diapers. The cloth diapers are stored in the numbered hanging baskets. I put all the velcro diapers at the top for easy access by my husband. The bottom pocket holds the ones I use most and the rest go in the middle. Not pictured is the basket that I use to store the extra inserts. I really don't have a good place for it yet, so it usually travels to wherever I stuff diapers.
While the Blueberry's small, this setup works perfectly. However, I can't see him fitting comfortably on the table once he grows a few more inches. When that happens we'll either have to get a bigger changing table or start changing him on the floor.
As I mentioned, I air dry my diapers. Also from IKEA, I found these neat octopus-like racks. I have two which will dry 16 diapers and their inserts. Typically one hangs in my laundry room and the other in my bathroom, although working on finding space for both of them in the laundry room where it's warmer. The inserts usually require overnight to dry but the unstuffed diapers dry in a couple of hours. Once the weather improves, I hope to hang outside. Supposedly the sun removes stains as well as bleach so I look forward to that as I already have a good number of stains :(
On a related note, one of the things I love about cloth diapering is how colorful they are. The Blueberry often marvels at the hanging diapers and watches me intently when I prepare the clean diapers for the new day.
In general, things are going well. It seems like he feels the wetness in the cloth diapers relatively quickly. If he's awake, he'll fuss for a change whether it's a wet or poopy diaper, where as in disposables he only complains if it's poop. Fortunately, he doesn't wake up unless the diaper leaks. So far we haven't had a diaper leak because it was overfull, but there have been a number of leaks likely due to user error on my part.
Cloth diapering definitely has a learning curve, but at the moment we're having a good time. More later...
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
We've been swaddling since day one as per the guidance from the pregnancy classes, hospital nurses, and various parenting literature. Everywhere we turned, we were told to swaddle. The swaddle was described as key to making baby feel safe and secure, not to mention prevent him from waking up by bonking himself in the head. We swaddled as we were told to. My husband was a natural at it and swaddles the Blueberry far more snuggly than I ever manage--you could bounce a quarter off the blanket when he's done. I struggled but got better at it eventually. As promised, the Blueberry loved it and seems to "need" the swaddle in order to fall asleep, particularly when his limbs are at their most restless.
The trouble is that all the attention was paid to why and how to swaddle, no one ever mentioned how to wean the baby of the swaddle, particularly when he outgrows the swaddle blanket or becomes enamored of pulling it to his face, either accidentally or to chew on it, yet hasn't yet mastered the skill to uncover his face. Assuming the swaddle is super-tight, what happens when the baby learns to roll over? What about the difficulty in laying out the swaddle one-handed when the baby gets bigger? What about all the cute wearable blankets that may soon be outgrown without use?
I'm starting to worry about all of these things. The Blueberry's now four-and-a-half months and theoretically going to learn to roll over any day now. During naptime today, he pulled the blanket completely over his face. Granted the muslin blankets we wrap him with seem breathable, but I don't want to test that.
At least one company has exploited similar concerns and sells a product supposed designed to wean baby of swaddling. It's a really stupid-looking star-shaped wearable blanket called the Zipadee-Zip that does not look like it would solve the problem at all since it appears to allow free range of motion. Parents on message boards have advised to leave one arm then the other, but have reported mixed success. I might try that particularly since the Blueberry often works both arms out of the swaddle at night yet continues to sleep comfortably. However, for this afternoon's nap we went cold turkey, mainly because the Blueberry was already asleep and I couldn't lay out the swaddle without setting him down.
He slept for nearly 30 minutes but now appears to be awake. Still no cries for attention, so we'll see if he goes back to sleep. I'm not optimistic.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
At four and a half months, the Blueberry's weighs a whopping 16 pounds, 1 ounce. Assuming I'm reading the WHO growth chart correctly, he's made it to the 50th percentile for weight, though he's still on the short side. Keep on growing, little guy!
Monday, December 10, 2012
As I shared last week, the Blueberry and I have taken the cloth diapering plunge. We're easing into to it slowly, particularly since Daddy still hasn't jumped on board with the idea fully. Thus, the Blueberry wears cloth diapers from the time Mommy gets up for the day, somewhere between 5:00 a.m. - 7:00 a.m. until about 5:00 p.m. when Daddy gets home and becomes the primary diaper changer. I estimate that the Blueberry's in cloth about 50-60% of the time as I usually sneak at least one cloth diaper in during the evenings, although I do stick with the disposables during the middle of the night.
Why on earth are we doing this?
When planning for the Blueberry, I stumbled across the whole modern day cloth diapering bit. From retail vendors like Babies R Us to deal-of-the-day websites such as Zulily or Totsy to YouTube videos, I kept hearing more and more about cloth diapering. Quite frankly, all of this combined made it seem like the trendy thing to do. Or at least something worth looking into. So I did and it looked doable. Nothing like what our parents probably wore--no pins, dunking or plastic pants. However, it seemed as though cloth diapering required a significant extra time investment and still had "yuck" factor despite modern advances. Thus, I decided to wait until my baby arrived and reassess later.
The most popular reasons I hear people give for why they cloth diaper are:
4) Cute Prints
Let me touch upon each of the reasons as I understand them. First, money--Although cloth diapering can have large start-up costs, a 2-day stash of cheap cloth diapers can be built for $100, which is roughly 2 months worth of disposable diapers. A fancy stash runs up to $500, however the lifetime savings (i.e. from birth to potty-training) is touted to be a over $2000 in savings! Second, chemicals--Parents, particularly those with sensitive skin babies, want to minimize harmful chemicals in their baby's life. Third, environment--Tree-huggers want to save the planet. Fourth, cute prints--Cloth diapers come in a myriad of colors, styles and prints. Homemade cloth diapers, which are purportedly as functional as the commercial ones, are super customizable (and cheap if you make them yourself). Fifth, convenience--You never have to run to the store in the middle of the night because you've run out of disposable diapers.
Most of the above reasons have an obvious counter-argument. For example, there are diaper sales and generic diapes which can bring down the cost of disposables tremendously. Add to that the value of Mom's time, that energy costs for washing vary across the country, and all the gear which can come with the game, cloth diapering may become pretty expensive. As for the environment-saving, the impact of extra electricity, water and soap required may have a more immediate effect than the longer-term costs of the landfill. As for convenience, while there might be no running to the store at 2:00 a.m., there is the 2-hour minimum wait for the cleaning process (longer if you air-dry).
The only two reasons I don't see any arguments against are chemicals and cute prints. Ignoring cloth diapering services which purportedly use scary chemicals as I see no use for them with today's modern diapers, by washing your own diapers you can absolutely control what chemicals come in contact with your baby's skin. The "best" and "recommended" laundry detergents for cloth diapers are lower in chemicals and rinse away well (as to avoid degradation of and build-up on the diaper). The cute prints factor speaks for itself. (I've opted for solids, but look at all the cute options at any cloth diaper retailer or this mom's yummy stash.)
Taking a look at these reasons, I'd say cost, chemicals, and cute prints were my deciding factors. Around the Blueberry's 2-month birthday, I calculated that we were spending roughly $50 per month on disposies--that was assuming I always bought diapers on sale. (I change diapers
obsessively frequently in efforts to avoid diaper rash, so we still go through at least 10 diapers per day.) I could do heck of a lot with an extra $600 per year. Our start-up stash (half shown above) cost about $300 but 3/4ths of our 24 cloth diapers are adjustable such that they're supposed to last till potty-training. I'm also air-drying which is surprisingly fast indoors and somewhat enrgy-saving. The colorful diapers also look really decorative hanging about. As for chemicals, although the Blueberry thus far has shown no sign of having sensitive skin, I find it pretty scary that the gel in disposies can hold something like 200x its weight in liquid. At least while his system's most vulnerable, we're attempting to go low-chemical. I know our parents probably didn't give much thought to such things when we were little--hell, they smoked indoors and we're perfectly healthy, but why chance it? I also believe technological advances have led to a greater abundance of chemicals than 30-some years ago. It may come as a surprise that the cuteness factor ranks at the bottom of my list why we're trying cloth diapering.
Okay, this post has become much longer that I expected. I was going to discuss how things are going thus far, describe our cloth diaper stash, and touch upon a few other topics but I think I'll save those things for future posts. Plus, someone pooped and needs a new diaper. In a nutshell, it's been very manageable and I'm optimistic that we'll continue after he starts solids (when the poops gets a lot yuckier). Stay tuned...
If you're curious and anxious for more info, check out the Cloth Diaper Report.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
On November 27th, the Blueberry visited the pediatrician for his 4 month well-baby checkup and more vaccinations. Let's start with the stats. He officially weighs 15 pounds, 3 ounces and measures 24.5" in length. That's nearly double his birth weight and a gain on roughly 5 inches in length. His head measured 42 centimeters, which is nearly tripled from birth. The doctor--the fifth different one he's seen since leaving the hospital thanks to the wonders of the military HMO care plan--was very positive about the Blueberry's development. He pronounced him free of the thrush that's been plaguing us since week 3, noted that the cradle cap wasn't serious, and otherwise seemed pleased. He reminded me about the importance of tummy time, which I know we need to work on. I liked the fellow although given his age and career (Army colonel), he seemed to be full of old-school philosophies and far from the cusp of current medicine. For example, when I inquired about when baby Tylenol should be used, he stated that he's of the mind to dose the baby regardless of discomfort, fever level, etc. Granted, I'd read that some parents dose their child prior to the shots to ward off potential negative symptoms but I didn't expect to hear that from an actual doctor. Yes, I know Tylenol's one of the purportedly more benign drugs as you can take it during pregnancy and give it to infants, etc., but I suppose the hippie in me just doesn't want to use any drug unless there's an actual need. Wait a sec, hippies used a lot of drugs in the 60s...um, I guess "progressive" or wannabe "natural" mom might be more appropriate terms. Anyway, what I did take from him was his opinion on what was a fever requiring a trip to the ER (over 103 + listlessness) and that was about it.
The shots...I had been warned that the second dose was worse than the first. Odd before they're simply boosters for the first round of vaccines. I had hoped that his newly chubby thighs would cushion the blow of the needle but no such luck. He shrieked even louder than before and seemed to generally more capable of expressing his agony than he was at 2 months. On the plus side, he fell right asleep and pretty much napped through the pain all the afternoon. Once at home, I dosed him with baby Tylenol for the pain which still seemed acute and was preventing him from getting comfortable. Around 11pm, he had a low-grade fever so we dosed him again. As far as I remember, he slept normally that night although his appetite was a bit diminished. The next morning he still had a low-grade fever but didn't seem to be in pain. (This is a switch from the 2-month shots where the fever was gone but he was still in a lot of pain.) I believe we dosed his one more time that morning and by afternoon he was his usual self.
Yikes, this is a lot sparser that it should have been. Hopefully I will be more diligent about getting this post up next time....
Friday, December 7, 2012
(Note: Ralph Lauren calls them "shortalls" which I think is a wannabe preppy name and does not pass the required cuteness threshold.)
The shorts are fastened with snaps, so the garment opens with the ease of a onesie. That's the theory anyway but they just do not work for us.
Both rompers are awkward albeit in different ways. The material of the Gymboree one seemed too stretchy and it looked like an unattractive dress at times. The RL one has a stiff collar (like khaki work pants) and doesn't have enough give in the body.
I suppose these things might work best for crawling babies. I could see the long torso of the piece being comfortable when on all fours. However, at 3-months (which is the size of both garments) few, if any, babies crawl. Thus, for the moment no more rompers for the Blueberry.
But isn't this White Sox one too cute?
Thursday, December 6, 2012
We started cloth diapering slowing a month or so ago but have only really made the commitment this month. I'll work on doing some reviews and posts about our switch soon. However, I had to share that not surprisingly, the best-fitting diaper to date is called Blueberry. How cute is that?
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Saturday, December 1, 2012
I've been meaning to do this post for at least a month and a half, ever since I started bathing my baby in a bucket...Okay, it's not exactly a bucket, but more on that in a bit. I'm not sure whether this is the norm for all internet
junkie savy new moms these days or just me, but in prepping for the Blueberry's arrival I spent hours on Youtube watching baby product reviews, baby how-tos, and mommy vlogs (if you don't know what a "vlog" is, then clearly you don't spend enough time on Youtube). I still watch such videos, though my viewing time is a bit more limited.
After watching a totally unrelated video, a video on the Tummy Tub was suggested. I watched it and few more videos and was intrigued. According to the product website, the Tummy Tub was developed in Holland 15 years ago and is quite the hit among moms, doctors, hospitals, etc., particularly in Europe. Its design supposedly reminds baby of being in the womb leading him to feel more secure during bath time.
Here's the original Tummy Tub and the Prince Lionheart Wash Pod, which is what I actually bought:
As you can see, they're quite similar and basically identical in the bucket portion where you put the baby. Initially, I thought the Prince Lionheart Washpod was the Buy Buy Baby knockoff, but I actually like the design better since it looks more stable. To be fair, you can buy a fancy stand for the Tummy Tub, which elevates the baby so you can sit on an ordinary chair while bathing baby, but I just sit on the floor of the bathroom and we're nearly at eye level.
I definitely it's a glorified bucket, however, Tummy Tub is sensitive to that comparison and has a whole page dedicated to correcting the misapprehension that their product is a bucket. I do like that it's curved at the bottom which encourages baby to sit in the fetal position, at least at first. Now that he can stand he pops up and down throughout the bath, but he's having fun and getting clean so I can mop up the splashes.
Originally, I bathed the Blueberry in the boat-like conventional baby bath tub with the infant sling. That worked until he got a bit bigger, maybe at around 11-12 weeks. At that time, he was still too little to go without the infant sling, but so big that much of his body stuck out about the water leading to a chilly baby. The baby bucket ensconces the baby in water and he doesn't seem to get cold. Either that or he's having so much fun splashing Mommy that he doesn't care.
At first I thought it might be difficult to hold his head up out of the water and wash him at the same time, but it's really not. Now that he's bigger and has good head control, it's not a big deal at all.
Though he's sure to outgrow the product by 6 months, I highly recommend this product or one like it. The Blueberry seems to enjoy bath time and the bucket, uh tub, is far easier to transport and store than the conventional tub.